Bennet: Democratic Base Doesn't Want Medicare for All

Colorado senator warns his party about implications of Medicare for All

July 23, 2019

Senator Michael Bennet (D., Colo.), a struggling Democratic presidential candidate, urged his party and its supporters to not buy into Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) Medicare for All proposal.

Bennet said the majority of the party does not support such a vast overhaul of the healthcare system in a Hacks on Tap podcast interview released Tuesday.

"We can't allow ourselves to be dragged over the edge of this cliff by Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All," Bennet said in a video preview of the interview released by host David Axelrod.

"That's not where the base of the Democratic Party is," Bennet added.

Bennet's answer seems to contradict numerous leading Democratic presidential candidates who have embraced the healthcare reform proposal first championed by Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Senators Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have also voiced their support of the proposal which would eliminate private insurance and transition every American to a government-run health plan.

Harris, Sanders, and Warren have all consistently polled within the top five in national and state polls of Democratic primary voters while Bennet has lingered around or below one percent. These results have not stopped Bennet from voicing concerns with his party's willingness to embrace a radical policy that would overhaul nearly a sixth of the United States economy.

Bennet said the voters he has talked to on the campaign trail are similar to the Colorado voters he represents in the U.S. Senate.

"They want universal healthcare but don't see any reason why we have to take it away from 180 million people who get it through their employer," Bennet said.

The Washington Post reported a collection of moderate Democrats in the House have expressed concern that running on Medicare for All would alienate potential independent voters. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a first-term congressman from New York, suggested a national campaign centered on Medicare for All would be "a losing message for 2020."

A poll from earlier this week showed only 40 percent of respondents thought Medicare for All is a "good idea" with over 50 percent of independent voters saying it would be a "bad idea."